For the 2019-2020 school year, Manufacto, the Skills Factory continues to expand across France, addressing new groups of pupils including those living far from urban centres. Launched in 2016 by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, this programme seeks to highlight the value of manual, craft practices to schoolchildren, through an introduction to the forms, gestures and values of the artisan domain.
Twelve sessions, programmed during school hours, are overseen by an experienced craftsperson, who is in turn assisted by a design student or trainee teacher. These sessions allow pupils to gain an understanding of different craft métiers, the handling of a range of tools, and the values that underpin the world of artisanship. Each student creates their own object over the course of the programme, from start to finish. Half-way through the year a visit to a professional workshop offers them the chance to discover the reality of craft practices in situ. At the end of the year, a final presentation serves as an important moment for recognising the work carried out by each student. Increased self-confidence, a change in class dynamics, the pleasure of manual work and the discovery of unexpected skills are just some of the benefits that are likely to have a lasting influence on pupils as they continue through school.
The start of the 2019-2020 school year heralded a major expansion for Manufacto. The programme now encompasses schools of the Créteil, Paris, Nice and Lyon educational boards, including some in rural areas, and is overseen by 44 craftspeople. A new métier, plasterwork, has also been integrated into the programme, joining leatherwork, woodwork and leather upholstery as the crafts into which pupils are initiated.
Participating pupils create one of a range of 13 objects, this year designed once again by the studio BrichetZiegler: a leather lamp, an animal-shaped wallet, a pencil case and a document wallet in leatherwork; a wooden lamp, a stool, a toolbox and a shelf in woodwork; an ottoman, a ghetto-blaster cushion and a desk surround in leather upholstery; finally, a plaster lamp and a wall-mounted trinket bowl in plasterwork. These beautiful objects, designed with care, allow each student to experience a genuine sense of accomplishment and pride at the end of the process.